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The Cause Of Global Warming. Is It You?

GUEST ARTICLE:

By Erik Leipoldt

We know the Earth is getting warmer.

The International Panel on Climate Change predicts a global temperature rise of about 5C by the end of this century. Thats enough for major changes. Like in rising seawater levels, in food production and rainfall.

Knowing why we are in this fix is the first step to doing something about it. Yes, thats you and me. (Follow the feed link to read the rest of the story).

There are four levels at which to understand the cause of global warming.

* The mechanics of global warming

* What we do

* Our beliefs and values, and

Reader questions – Part 1 of 4

I enjoy emails from readers of this site.  My contact information is in the About page and the comments and encouragement I receive makes this site a joy to run.  I recently received an email from Brittany C asking four questions.  Brittany is allowing me to publish her questions and my answers.  These answers are a combination of scientific fact with conjecture and opinion from me.

Question 1: Why is the warming that has taken place in this past decade been such a big deal when there seems to be a similar warming trend in the 1930s?  Is there a difference between the two? 

Great question.  I am going to break it up into 3 parts:

Global warming heating up China’s ‘ice city’

Breitbart.com – January 4, 2007

I usually have a difficult time saying that any specific occurrence is due to global warming (or any other global trend). Typically, with complicated systems like climate, there are many more factors at play than can be succinctly discussed in a headline.  I am inclined to believe that this particular news story is true though.

It appears that the “coldest city in the world” is getting a little warmer. This seems to agree with a general warming in that region of the world. (Follow the feed link to read the rest of the story).

It is important to make sure that this isn’t a small spike. Although the evidence does see more warmer years lately than is typical, it really takes 10-20 years to see a true climate change trend.

Tracking Carbon Trail To Find Why So Much Fills the Atmosphere

Wall Street Journal – December 28, 2007

I have written about the Carbon Tracker service before, but this recent article is very interesting in discussing the lack of understanding that we have in our atmosphere.

Where did all of the carbon go?  It is concerning that we are embarking on a global escapade to reduce, tax, and punish carbon dioxide production but we still can’t answer this very basic question! How does a nation effectively tax carbon production when scientists can’t even tell where 25% all carbon dioxide goes? This begs the question as to if we can appropriately tax the correct polluters and reward the correct sinks.

Companies try to make going green easier

Denver Business Journal – December 7, 2007

I haven’t made any secret of my distrust of the carbon credits (or carbon trading) programs that are on the market. I have written about them often and have pointed out multiple times where they are more scam than good. While I am certain that there are some programs that have good intentions, the devil is usually in the details and the details are usually not very good.

I can’t tell if the two programs in this article are good or bad.  They don’t give enough details in the article but I am suspicious.  While the companies that ShipGreen and AllState are donating to appear to be above board, they simply are not sharing enough information to tell if the money is doing any good.  I am reminded that BusinessWeek did an article on this type of effort only to find that little of the offset money did any good.

Australia Signs Up to Ratifying Kyoto

Associated Press – December 3, 2007

If you follow global warming news at all, you knew this was going to happen today.  The new Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd, signed the Kyoto Protocol on his first day in office.  It is very telling that this was his first official act as Prime Minister and is sure to be used as a signal to the world on his belief in the human causation of global warming. It probably is also indicative of his relationship with the United States although that analysis exceeds the scope of this site.

In China, a Plan to Turn Rice Into Carbon Credits

Wall Street Journal – October 9, 2007

I am not a fan of carbon trading programs or carbon credits as most readers know. However, I do like programs that promise to reduce the use of our valuable resources.

This idea sounds promising as it will decrease the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere (did you know that agriculture put out more than automobiles?) and it will conserve resources.

…to sell farmers a genetically engineered rice seed. He says the seed, still in development, will cut their need for nitrogen fertilizer, which is among their biggest costs — and a huge source of greenhouse gases. He then aims to sell the resulting carbon credits on a growing global exchange.

Climate shift is biggest security risk: Australia

Reuters – September 25, 2007

This is an interesting analysis and brings on many dark fears. The thought that changing climate will lead to reasons (excuses) for countries to declare war is quite concerning. There is no doubt that this is at least partially true. When a country has a disgruntled population there really are only two options: fail as a government or take significant steps to change the situation.

Of equal concern is that in the process of suffering, individuals will take it upon themselves to move to another area of the world where the suffering is not as tremendous. This will lead to other problems that can occur whenever there is a mass exodus.

Schwarzenegger urges U.N. to move on climate change

Reuters – September 24, 2007

There have been quite a few speeches to the United Nations this week. Must be their week to do some work.

Among others, Governor Schwarzenegger of California spoke on the topic of global warming. The "Terminator" appears to be trying to be a "Mediator" in that he wants countries to stop bickering and start working together.

I think this is a great idea but isn’t that what politicians do? Bicker?

Rich and poor nations must get over their disagreements about how to fight climate change and forge a new pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will say on Monday.

U.N. chief’s tepid sense of urgency

San Francisco Chronicle – July 31, 2007

Interesting op-ed piece regarding the UN Secretary-General and his recent comments on global warming.  According to the piece, the UNSG blames the US for much of the world’s problems but doesn’t come up with a plan for fixing the problem in light of current pollution levels or anticipated pollution levels.

IF YOU REALLY believe that the planet is at the tipping point on global warming and the consequences will be fatal for people around the world, especially the poor, then all industrialized nations need to curb their greenhouse-gas emissions. If the United States must sacrifice, so must China, which is fast emerging as largest producer of industrial greenhouse gases on Earth